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Utah Senior State Amateur: Brigham Gibbs becomes the first three-time champion
Brigham Gibbs was disappointed Thursday morning when he needed three putts to complete Alpine Country Club’s first hole in the final match of the 30th Utah Senior State Amateur Championship. The 3s that followed were much more satisfying.
A pair of eagles on the front nine’s par-5 holes helped Gibbs take command vs. Shane McMillan. He became the event’s first three-time winner via a 4-and-3 victory.
Gibbs’ third title in six years pulled him ahead of the other two-time champions: Glen Hatch, Doug Marriott, Kent Christopher and Kirk Siddens.
Marriott added a Legends trophy to his collection with a 3-and-2 defeat of Chesley Erickson in the newly created 70-over division. Craig Wilson took the Super Seniors title for 60-over players, 6 and 4 over Dan Parkinson.
Gibbs is 59, so he could play next year as a Super Senior. He intends to take at least one more shot in the top tier, quickly dismissing any potential dilemma. “I’ll still play this one,” he said. “You’ve got to play as defending champion.”
Gibbs immediately solved his putting issues on No. 2 by not needing to putt. After laying up on the par-5 from a fairway bunker, he holed a wedge shot from 130 yards. He went 4 up with a 20-foot eagle putt on the par-5 No. 6. And then he eagled the par-4 No. 10 for the second time this week, after knocking a 5-wood onto the green.
Wilson is 61, so he faced what he labeled “a tough decision” about his preferred division when the Utah Golf Association lowered the Super Senior age from 65 to 60 this year, while adding the Legends category.
“I do feel like I can still compete, maybe, with the younger group,” he said.
Wilson won the first four holes vs. Parkinson, an Alpine member who’s 69. Counting a couple of concessions early in the match, he was credited with six birdies in a remarkable performance with his irons.
All week, “I hit the middle of the clubface over and over again,” Wilson said. “That builds a lot of confidence.”
Wilson joined Allen Simkins as a winner of both the Senior State Am and the Super Senior division.
Marriott’s season sweep of the Legends titles in the UGA’s two men’s senior tournaments came 20 years after his second consecutive Senior State Am victory. At 78, he was thrilled to have the Legends division added this year.
“Oh, absolutely,” he said. “I think it gives a lot more players an opportunity to continue playing (top-level) state golf.”
Marriott said he played “a little better” this week than he did in winning his division of the Senior Stroke Play event at Bountiful Ridge Golf Course in May. He was 4 up through eight holes of the final match, although Erickson succeeded in extending the duel to the farthest point (No. 16) of any of Thursday’s three matches.
Written by Fairways Media senior writer, Kurt Kragthorpe. Photos courtesy of Fairways Media/Randy Dodson.